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January 17, 1706
April 17, 1790 (aged 84)
Continental Congress (1775-1775), United States
Benjamin Franklin is best known as one of the Founding Fathers who was a respected inventor, publisher, scientist and diplomat. He helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers.
Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, in Massachusetts Bay Colony. Franklin learned to read at an early age, and at 10 he worked full-time in his cash-strapped father’s candle and soap shop. Franklin fled Boston in 1723 to Philadelphia, that became his home base for the rest of his life. In 1725 Franklin published his first pamphlet.
In 1730 Franklin was named the official printer of Pennsylvania. Starting in the 1730s, he helped establish a number of community organizations in Philadelphia. At the end of 1732, Franklin published the first edition of "Poor Richard’s Almanack".
In the 1740s, Franklin expanded into science and entrepreneurship. In the 1740s, he invented the lightning rod, which protected buildings from fires caused by lightning. In 1752, he conducted his famous kite experiment and demonstrated that lightning is electricity. In the 1760s, Benjamin invented a musical instrument called the armonica. Also, Franklin developed bifocals that could be used for both distance and reading.
In 1754, in New York, at the Albany Congress, Franklin proposed a plan for uniting the colonies under a national congress. Franklin’s “Plan of Union,” however, failed to be ratified by the colonies. In 1775, Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress. In 1776, he was appointed commissioner to Canada and was one of five men to draft the Declaration of Independence, in which the 13 American colonies declared their freedom from British rule.
Franklin died on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the home of his daughter. More than 200 years after his death, Franklin remains one of the most celebrated figures in U.S. history.
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."